As exit polls predict Uttarakhand cliffhanger, Congress and BJP huddle in closed-door meets
Some of the surveys gave an edge to the BJP while others indicated a close fight and a possible hung Assembly
Top leaders of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Opposition Congress are holding closed-door meetings in Dehradun a day after various exit polls gave a hazy picture of the Uttarakhand Assembly election outcome. Some of the surveys gave an edge to the BJP while others indicated a close fight and a possible hung Assembly.
Both the Congress and BJP claim they will get a clear majority – 36 seats, the minimum number required to form the government. However, they also fear a 2012-like situation when the BJP got 31 and the Congress 32. With the help of Independent legislators, the Bahujan Samaj Party, and others, the Congress had formed the government.
Commenting on the exit polls, Congress chief minister Harish Rawat said he doesn’t believe in them. “The Congress is clearly winning as people have already given a mandate in favour of the party," he said.
Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami countered, “Most exit polls have shown the BJP ahead in the state. People have given a certificate for the work done by us."
Amid claims and counterclaims, the ruling BJP is leaving no stone unturned. Party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and Union minister Prahlad Joshi, who is also BJP’s Uttarakhand in-charge, are camping in the state capital.
The top leadership of the party has met more than three times since Sunday evening. Those privy to the deliberations revealed that BJP leaders have reached out to some Independent contestants and candidates from other parties who have a better chance of winning.
State cabinet minister Ganesh Joshi confirmed this while speaking to News18. “Senior leaders have contacted like-minded candidates. We will prefer to get all on board," he said.
Congress rebel Sanjay Dobhal contesting from the Yamunotri seat confirmed that both parties have contacted him. He said that he will discuss the options with supporters in case he wins and if there is a need for outside support to any side to form the government.
The Congress is taking no chances. The party has sent MP Deepender Hooda to Dehradun as a special observer. Hooda after reaching the state capital met Harish Rawat, party state president Ganesh Godiyal, and state in-charge Devendra Yadav, among others.
Congress candidates are being told to be “very cautious" on the day of counting. Also, on the lines of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress could ask one to two advocates to remain at counting centres on 10 March when poll results will start trickling out.
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